The Singer-Activist Will Continue to Work for the Haitian People, But Will Resume Focus on His Legendary Music Career

NEW YORK—Sept. 21, 2010—Grammy-winning Haitian artist Wyclef Jean, dropped several weeks ago from the ballot for the upcoming November elections in his home country, now says he has officially withdrawn his candidacy.

“After weeks of quiet but painstaking reflection with my wife and daughter, I have chosen to end my bid for the presidency of Haiti,” said Jean. “This was not an easy conclusion to reach; but it is one that was thoughtfully made, taking into account many, many competing factors and weighing the course that will best advance the healing of the country and help it find the quickest path to recovery.”

When Haiti’s Provincial Electoral Council released its list on Aug. 20 of whom it deemed qualified to run in this year’s elections, 15 of the 34 who had filed the papers to enter the race for presidency had been dropped from the ballot. Jean, one of those disqualified, accepted the council’s decision, in efforts to respect the rule of law and in order to ensure that his supporters would remain peaceful and law-abiding in the aftermath of the announcement.

Simultaneously, Jean and his representatives filed a legal appeal against the ruling of the council, due to perceived irregularities in the council’s operations. At the time, the singer and his advisers gave as their rationale the desire to ensure that the council was being held accountable and that its processes were made transparent. Not withstanding his interest in a sound, just and fair governance process, Jean is choosing instead to revert his attention and focus to his music. Jean’s new album “If I Were President, the Haitian Experience” is scheduled for release in February 2011, followed by the summer 2011 kickoff of his worldwide tour “The Haitian Experience.”

“Some battles are best fought off the field, and that is where we take this now. Our ultimate goal in continuing the appeal was to further the people’s opportunity to freely participate in a free and fair democratic process,” said Jean. “In that regard, the appeal was meant to improve the electoral process for all, candidates and voters alike. It is one way that I hope to bring light to the functioning of a government that is often ranked as one of the most corrupt on the planet, resulting in a country that is by most measures the poorest in the Western world. It’s not about my candidacy—this appeal was meant to address the shortcomings of the process for every Haitian. Though my run for the presidency was cut short, in this way, I feel it was not in vain; it’s something we can use to improve conditions for my Haitian brothers and sisters.”

Haiti’s presidential election was originally scheduled for earlier this year, but was delayed due to the devastating earthquake that struck the country in January. The quake was particularly destructive in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, where many government buildings, including the presidential palace, were left unusable; while many government workers are estimated to have died in the disaster and election materials lost. (END)

Marian Salzman
Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America
200 Madison Avenue, 2nd floor
New York, New York 10016


  1. Wyclef,

    I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of your accomplishments for Haiti… there are simply no words to encapsulate or define Wyclef Jean other than to say, “Here is a man with the heart of King David, the spirit of Marcus Garvey and the mind, righteous will and determination of Dr. King. Your life’s work has become your living legacy, distinctive and unique in an era where stories like yours are rare and unheard of.

    “From the Hut, to the Projects, to the Mansion. If I can do it, you can do it – no excuses.” ~Wyclef Jean

    The Movement you have birthed is an answer to a call few have the guts to answer. One day, your precious daughter will give speeches around the world about how a little boy who rode a donkey to school, changed a nation and inspired the world.

    You, Wyclef Jean, are a world changer… born with a destiny to show every man, woman and child, they have within themselves the ability to pursue and live their dreams.

    God bless you Wyclef. Your Warriors are bonded to you for life, and the Movement is a call every soul who values life needs to answer.

    Thank you for teaching us there is no other way to live but ‘one love’.


    Elizabeth Whitney

  2. so where do we go from here Clef?

  3. […] reflection with my wife and daughter, I have chosen to end my bid for the presidency of Haiti,” said Jean. “This was not an easy conclusion to reach; but it is one that was thoughtfully made, taking into […]

  4. […] the rest of his statement here SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Wyclef Drops Out Of Haiti’s Election", url: […]

  5. Komon ou ye, Wyclef???? I am one of your biggest fans and am angry that they kicked you out of your run for presidency, but stay strong!! I will always be here to support you!!!

  6. I must say that I was definitely not a supporter of Wyclef running for Haiti’s President at this time. I think that his decision to concede to the council’s verdict is a wise step. That said, I would be very interested to see how Wyclef prepares himself over the next 5 years before making another bid for the presidency. It’s enough time for growth.

    I believe that Wyclef wants Haiti’s election to be more than just a popularity contest. I know that trhough his organization he has done a lot to help Haiti, but so have so many others. It’s called activism. Are ALL activists qualified? I don’t doubt that Wyclef loves Haiti, but many Haitians do, too. Are they ALL qualified? Sweet Mickey loves Haiti, but does that make him qualified? Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are activists, but are they qualified for a presidency? There are conflicting answers to these questions. Whatever the answer, qualification is based on more than love for a country. Wyclef has the ability to make his supporters hold him to a higher standard than “He loves Haiti” (which too many people are using as a rationale). Let’s give the Haitian presidential race the respect it deserves and hold candidates to a high standard. Haiti needs and deserves that!

    In the next 5 years, I hope Wyclef willl hold himself accountable to becoming a more refined and knowledgeable candidate and not just garner support as a result of his celebrity status. I hope he will take steps to learning more about governance, trade, commerce, agriculture, education, healthcare systems, energy systems, and all the things that a president should have at least as a part of their baseline knowledge. In 5 years, I hope (for Wyclef’s sake) that people will be able to say that Wyclef is a great candidate because of his participation in international issues, his work with gov’t officials on infrastructure, etc… I am aware that he has done some of this, but let’s be honest, most people can’t list 5 things that Wyclef has done outside of his music. That’s Wyclef’s cross to bear, though. It’s his responsibility to replace the lyrics of “FugeeLa” in people’s head with the solid reasons people should vote for him… AND FOR GOODNESS SAKE… DO NOT USE A SONG! Challenge yourself, Wyclef! Music obviously comes too easily, which is why you made a song about being denied. The answer to everything can’t be, “Wrote a song about it! Wanna hear it? Here it go!”

    Wyclef can still win the support of his current opposers in 2015 – even mine. But support must be earned. Even Obama had to earn it, despite his ivy league education. I know… Just because a person is ivy league doesn’t make them knowledgeable. Just look at Yale graduate, George W. Bush. It’s what one gains from whatever education they get. Wyclef, it doesn’t have to be all classroom education, but consider taking some classes on international business and governance. Move to Haiti… and not just on paper. Participate in international conferences and meetings. Learn French (which I know is a point of contention, but even our Haitian heroes knew that in order to change the system, they had to learn it and infiltrate it first!)

    To conclude, I say to Wyclef that while you might not appreciate my candor, know that I still have hope for you. I hope you use the next 5 years wisely. It’s up to you to make the sacrifices necessary to shape your image so that your celebrity status becomes an after-thought during your next bid. Otherwise, Haiti will be what it has been for years – a place where the privileged need do nothing but be privileged in order to succeed. Good luck!

  7. @pouayiti
    I agree with most of your statement. Maybe now isn’t the right time for Wyclef to run for president of Haiti…But Clef, I want you to know that no matter what, I will support you every step of the way!!!

    The Haitian side of my family (I am half-Haitian) even has a special “Yele Night” dedicated to watching Yele on YouTube…sounds cheesy, I know. But my family and I are really big fans! You have all of our faith in you to succeed in whatever ambitions you may have!

  8. Hello,

    I hope this message reaches you. My name is Rebekah, I am a filmmaker at Stanford University and have an idea for a documentary project that you may be interested in. In short, the project would follow your transition between running for Haitian president and working on your current album.

    Is there a more formal contact that I can address to explain the project?

    Thank you,

    Rebekah Meredith

  9. Excuse typos in my previous post.

  10. Things are spiraling out of control.

    So much of the USA foreign aids money is being hijacked by people who want to create a flotilla to gaza. But has the first flotilla has proven, its not about aids –the things that were on that ship, gaza didn’t need. In fact, when it was delivered, the trucks remained untouched by gazan because they had no use for the items in there. Items that could nave easily been routed through the regular humanitarian route.

    Where as HAITI is still struggling –a country truly in need of aid especially after getting hit by an earthquake. Now there is a cholera outbraek. EASILY PREVENTABLE. There is a “enter hero status now” arrow pointing right at the cholera problem. This is easily treatable, but speed is required. the US set aside 1.15 billion dollars to aid Haiti. Where is the alacrity?

    The Palestinian supporters are battling the pro Israelis and they are using whatever ground, background they choose. The world is NOT their playground. We have serious business to attend, and should not spend our aid money for their cat and mouse game.

    Haiti needs help. The money has already been earmarked for it. There is NO NEW MONEY IS NEEDED. We only need to push the government to move.

    Please, Mr.Wyclef Jean, use your powerful voice to save lives -real humanitarian aid is needed in Haiti. Care. Help. Speak out. Let your voice serve as a rolling snowball with other voices joining in, to create the momentum needed to arouse compassion and action for Haiti.

    thank you! And may God Blessed you for this!!!

  11. beauty, power, and action from a shanty!

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